Tour a Queens, New York, Home Filled With Eccentric, Believe-It-Or-Not Decor

Inside Ali Arakawa's quirky Queens home, you’ll find an extensive collection of family relics, tasteful taxidermy and curated curiosities all displayed like a lived-in museum.

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Props to Passion

Ali Arakawa, owner of vintage decor Etsy shop, Fare Well Trading, is a freelance production display artist who styles, sources and zhooshes sets. When she’s not working with interesting props, she’s busy adding to her own curated collection of one-of-a-kind antiques and vintage home decor. A stroll through Ali’s row house is just as intriguing as the person who designed it, with a charming backstory all of its own.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

A Home With a (Cemetery) View

New York City is home to many beautiful cemeteries that are designated as historical landmarks. They are rich with some of the city's lesser-known history. “When I first saw the house, one of the things that made me fall in love with it was how open it is," Ali explained. “But the beautiful, tree-filled view of the cemetery is one of my favorite things about the house. A lot of people don’t think it’s great, but I love it."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Don't Go Changin'

It’s not every day a home comes along that’s move-in ready and packed with original charm — charm that you actually want to keep, that is. “The house is over 100-years-old, so things not being too updated and modern works for me," Ali says. “Like this wallpaper: It's original to the house, and I’m just so happy that the old homeowners left it up because I feel like it was destined to be my wallpaper.”

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Gut-Based Style Guide

From life-size ceramic animals to faded family relics, Ali’s design style is more instinctive than deliberate. “It’s really hard to describe my style,” Ali says. “My collection is from the late 1800s to present, and certain things just speak to me. I just buy whatever I like and figure it out later. That’s the best part about vintage to me — it’s fun and I don’t take it too seriously.”

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

In Plain Sight

The living room gallery wall, a first of several you'll find in Ali's eclectic home, is filled with art to disguise a familiar eyesore. “The room was hot red when we bought the house," Ali says. "And I knew I wanted to paint it white and do a big gallery wall around the TV. So I chose to balance the wall out with black colors ... your eye is drawn around the TV rather than at the TV.”

Learn How: How to Hide Your TV in Plain Sight + Save on Style

Repurposed Ceramics

Ali has a knack for turning her finds into wall art. This vintage ceramic cigar rest, shaped like a tiger’s head, is flanked by her mother's silkscreen prints and found antique paintings.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Spot the Wildlife

“This shiny panther statue balances out the [living room]," Ali adds. Life-size ceramic animal statues are a big staple in her home. This panther is one of three in her collection.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Pretty in Pink

“Welcome to my jungle,” Ali says, smiling. “The sunroom has been about four different shades of pink because it took me a really long time to find the perfect shade that went with the wallpaper and the plants. This room also has the largest concentration of plants in any room of the house.” The ceramic cheetah statue, the second spotted in her home, adds a fun pop of orange to the room.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Old Oddities, New Life

Ali's design eye and knack for repurposed antiques can be seen in lots of little nooks and crannies. “This planter I made from an old doll head to display air plants,” Ali says, proudly showing off an upcycled favorite.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Living Art

Meet Zero. Named after a character in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ali describes her chill pup as part of the art in her home. He loves to lounge by the houseplants in the sunroom.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Moody Blues

Steps away from the pretty pink sunroom sits a moody blue dining space. "I'm really big on color stories," Ali explains. Described as her favorite wall color in the house, "I decided to paint my entire dining room blue because I wanted to do a primary color thing in here. I also photograph all my products for Fare Well Trading against it."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Displaying a Best-Seller

The dark blue dining room is reflected in this convex, bullseye mirror, a rare find and best-seller in Ali's Etsy shop. "I love how gold and gaudy it is," she says. "I feel like it really just tops off the bar cart."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

File This Under "Bar Cart"

Topped with vintage drinkware, Ali's antique, olive green file cabinet doubles as the dining room bar cart. "I’m a firm believer that just because an item was made for one purpose doesn’t mean it needs to be used for that," Ali explains.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Cooking With Classics

Another selling point for Ali — and left mostly original — is the small, white kitchen offering charming, eclectic appeal. "I think the kitchen has the perfect vintage feel, but it’s just modern enough," Ali says.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Written in the Stars

The vintage tile backsplash was left from the original home, as if meant for Ali's aesthetic. "Something about it really speaks to me — the colors, the imagery, the lightning and the sun faces," she says. "It’s really unique and I’ve never seen anything like it. I love it.”

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

In Love With Lusterware

"These are one of my most recent finds — vintage Lusterware from Japan," she shares, giving one a spin. "They’re just so much fun, interactive and therapeutic."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

A Rare Bird

Perfectly perched at the top of the stairs sits one of the most eye-catching items in the house. "This is my peacock," Ali says, smiling. "He’s from a pop-up display ... [and] I got to take him home. My husband made a beautiful little perch for him to sit on, and I think he just goes really well with the wallpaper."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Home Office, But Make It Vintage

And this is where the creativity happens — Ali's home office. Like many other spaces in her home, this one features a unique gallery wall and the third life-size ceramic animal, a German Shepherd dutifully guarding a vintage, wooden desk.

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

Where Bearded Men Hang Out

True to her love of a good gallery wall, Ali's office sticks to a motif. "The portrait gallery wall of bearded men," Ali says. "It’s one of my favorite collections because it's just one theme — bearded men."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

No Computer. No Problem.

Ali prefers a more analog method when it comes to her work, organization and creative style. "I write everything down; I have so many notebooks," she explains. "I don’t have a computer — I have an iPad — but when I’m sourcing or meeting with my clients I show up with a pencil and a notebook, my brain in a book."

Learn How: Bullet Journal Ideas: How to Start a Bullet Journal

Museum State-Of-Mind

"I want people to feel like they’re in a museum," she says. "I want people to look at everything in my house and wonder what something is — it just makes me so happy."

Watch the Video: Tour an Eclectic Queens, New York, Home

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